Freedom of Information Commission

of the State of Connecticut

 

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by                                    Final Decision

 

Thomas P. Lally,

 

                        Complainant

 

            against                                                              Docket #FIC 1996-262

 

Edward T. Arrington, Warden,

Hartford Correctional Center,

 

                        Respondent                                          October 16, 1996

 

 

            The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 11, 1996, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.

 

            After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:

 

            1.  The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of §1-18a(a), G.S.

 

            2.  By letter dated June 17 and filed June 19, 1996, the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondent had failed to comply with the final decision of the Commission in docket #FIC 1995-185, Thomas P. Lally v. Edward T. Arrington, Warden, Hartford Correctional Center.

 

            3.  In docket #FIC 1995-185, the Commission entered the following order:

 

1.  The respondent shall immediately conduct a search for any records which are responsive to the complainant’s request, in whatever form, either within his possession or subject to his control, and to the extent such records exist, provide the complainant with copies of such records free of charge.

 

2.  If the search ordered in paragraph 1 of the order, above, reveals that no records exist which are responsive to the complainant’s request, then the respondent shall execute an affidavit detailing the particulars of his search and stating that no such documents exist, and provide the complainant with such affidavit within one week of the issuance of the final decision in this matter.

 

            4.  It is found that in docket #FIC 1995-185, the complainant was seeking records concerning an incident that occurred at Northeast Correctional Institution (hereinafter “NECI”) in December 1993, which was investigated by the state police in January 1994. 

 

5.  It is found that at the time of the incident in question, the respondent was the Director of Region II of the Department of Corrections (hereinafter “DOC”), which included NECI, but that he now holds the position of warden at Hartford Correctional Institution.

 

            6.  It is found that after receiving the Commission’s final decision in docket #1995-185, the respondent forwarded it to DOC’s Human Resource Department for compliance, because he no longer had any authority over the records held at NECI.

 

            7.  It is found that under cover letter dated April 1, 1996, with attachments, DOC’s principal personnel officer provided the complainant with: an internal “report of loss” memoranda; an incident report prepared by the complainant himself; and a letter from Warden Buell, who was the NECI warden at the time of the incident, stating that no records concerning the reporting of the incident to the state police exist at NECI.

 

            8.  It is found, however, that: Warden Beull is no longer the warden at NECI; the letter is not in affidavit form; and it does not indicate either the parameters of the search or whether a search was conducted.  Furthermore, the complainant and the respondent both submitted evidence indicating the likelihood that records exist at NECI which are responsive to the complainant’s request.

 

            9.  It is nevertheless concluded that the respondent, as of the date of final decision in docket #FIC 1995-185, did not have the ability to comply with the decision because the requested records, if they exist, were neither in his possession nor subject to his control.

 

            The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:

 

            1.  The complaint is hereby dismissed.

 

            2.  The Commission admonishes the respondent for failing to appear at the hearing in docket #FIC 1995-185:  If the respondent had appeared as ordered, through counsel or otherwise, the time and expense of this hearing could likely have been avoided.

 

            3.  The Commission suggests to the complainant that if he is still seeking the records at issue, that he directly contact NECI, where the records, if they exist, should be maintained.

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of October 16, 1996.

 

 

 

                                                                                    __________________________

                                                                                    Elizabeth A. Leifert

Acting Clerk of the Commission


 

 

 

PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S., THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.

 

THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:

 

Thomas P. Lally

PO  Box 674

Storrs, CT 06268

 

 

Edward T. Arrington, Warden, Hartford Correctional Center

c/o  Sharon Hartley, Esq.

110 Sherman Street

Hartford, CT 06105

 

 

                                                                                    __________________________

                                                                                    Elizabeth A. Leifert

                                                                                    Acting Clerk of the Commission